The advances of technology have created opportunity in improving mathematics education. The aims of using technology are: (1) how teachers can use technological tools to replace or complement traditional media; (2) how students may benefit from learning with technology; and (3) how technology interacts with other elements of instruction.

**1. ****INTRODUCTION**

ICT (Information and Communication Technology) is the digital equipment which can store, process, and communicate the information. The omnipresent ICT has been a special interest topic in educational institute, because ICT could replace the aids tools, textbooks and chalkboards, for the teacher.

In Singapore the education authorities encourages the use of computer to upgrade teaching and learning by conveying computer hardware and software as infrastructure , and training teachers in first stage of the information technology (IT) master plan (MP1) from 1997 to 2002. It aims that every student would have access to technology in learning (Ministry of Education, 1997). In the second stage of the master plan(MP2), the aim is to rule the ICT in bringing together key areas of education such as curriculum, assessment, instruction, and professional development to build school environments that are conducive for engaged and holistic learning (Ministry of Education, 2002).

The goals of the MP1, integration of ICT to enhance the mathematical experience, objectives in following ways:

- As “integrate” would imply, ICT should not merely be a bit-part player, but rather, it should feature prominently in mathematics classrooms.
- “Integrate” also implies that ICT should be weaved tightly into other components of teaching practice to form a well-coordinated whole.
- Students are expected to use technological tools directly in order to “enhance the mathematical experience.”

The aim of using ICT to enhance mathematical learning continues with “effective use” in MP2 which shifted “integration” in MP1

**2. ****LOCAL RESEARCH ON USE OF ICT IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION**

The effectuation of MP1 with ICT infrastructure in the schools has increased the number of studies on the use of ICT in the teaching and learning of mathematics in Singapore classrooms. The broad agendas which most local research directions are showed below:

- ICT-use as a ”better” way for teaching mathematics
- ICT-use as a ”better” way for learning mathematics
- ICT-use in relation to other factors in the instructional environment

ICT-use relates with the use of ICT tools and the term “better” relates with research studies that share common claims of ICT-use as being superior in some visible ways.

**3. ****ICT-USE AS A “BETTER” WAY FOR TEACHING MATHEMATICS**

This agenda stress on how the teachers use the ICT features to improve the quality of mathematics teaching and learning. Solving mathematical problems in teaching would be better conveyed by using a technological tool. A case, a fictitious lottery game by using excel, is the random function in program. The equipment can generate 4-digit numbers, and it is also capable of producing the quick and random generation of numbers easier than manual.

Wu (2002) demonstrated a simulation of throwing an unbiased die in excel. The software that is not available in static media can simulate the experiment and represent the data in the table and diagram. Using the technological tools impacts the students to extend their understanding of statistical graphs. In this case, the ability of students used four excel templates, constructed using certain features of statistic, technology and pedagogy.

Ang (2006) demonstrated the analytic solution of certain differential equations. By using the graphing software, it is easier the students to view the portrayal as the solution in graphical solution.

Yu, Lam, and Mok (2004) describe the use of hand-held graphing calculators in teaching the transformation of graphs and the sketching of polar curves. Graphing calculators help the students to understand the pattern changes and features of the graphs. The translation from graph of *Y=f(x)* to graph of *Y=f(x+c) *and the changes in the number of “petals” of polar graphs are examples of the graphing calculators.

The intention of all technological tools reviewed above demonstrates how the aid of relevant software can help the teacher to enhance mathematics teaching and to solve the mathematics problem. It shows that mathematics teaching can be better with the aid of particular software.

**4. ****ICT-USE AS A “BETTER” WAY FOR LEARNING MATHEMATICS**

The uses of ICT are conducted chronically by making a number of experimental to increase students’ achievement scores. Lee and Pereira-Mendoza (2002) used Logo software learning angle concepts in a primary 4 class. They compared between students treatment class with logo and other eight classes in the same grade level that did not use logo software. The result was found that students treatment class are capable of doing overall examination performance in two out of three items without loss in performance on the standard angle objectives as described in the curriculums.

Yeo (2006) also inquired about the Livemath, a type of computer algebra system (CAS) performing algebraic operations as well as displays update of changes in functional values graphically, in secondary 4 classes. He compared between treatment class that use software and the control class that didn’t use the software in two paper-and-pencils test. On the result, the treatment class did better than control class.

In another study, Ong (2002) did the study with *Sketchpad* which intended geometrical results and theorems and Ng (2004) applied the TI-92 CAS graphing calculator in a CAS intervention Programme (CASIP) for secondary 3. The result test compared that the students use software more interest in exploring mathematical concepts.

The reports above just involve each study in small sample size of a class and the studies were conducted over a short period. It also assumed that technology in itself possesses some intrinsic qualities that can enhance students learning by virtue of its mere inclusion in classroom teaching. It is more important to understand the role and the use of ICT within broader context of other factors which influence teaching and learning process.

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**5. ****ICT-USE AS IN RELATION TO OTHER FACTORS IN THE INSTRUCTIONAL ENVIRONMENT**

How technological tools can be used in conjunction with pedagogical approach that might influence the quality of instruction? Leong (2003) studied the relation between *sketchpad* application and the instruction approach. Three secondary 2 classes labeled A, B, and C participated in the study. The students were taught the same topics in transformation geometry over a period of three weeks. In class A, the students were given a *sketchpad* template to test the theories with the guided inquiry pedagogy by the teacher. In class C, the teacher served to expound the student without the software *sketchpad* as model the learning environment. The mode of *sketchpad* use in class B was somewhat “in between” that of class A and class C.

Then all students were given the paper-and-pencil test. Five of them selected randomly were observed the performance. There is no significant difference in conventional achievement between the classes that indicate the use of *sketchpad*, but in verbal assessment showed up some qualitative differences between the responses of students from class A and those from the other two classes. The students in class were better able to identify the transformation in object-image pairs and more competent in providing the full descriptions of the transformations. It indicates that the *sketchpad* use can develop an understanding of the concept images of inherent geometrical ideas.

Ang (2006) suspected that the teachers are demanded to take care into other aspects of teaching, such as examination-relevance although there are many ways IT can be utilised in classroom teaching. He doubted teachers’ motivation in wanting to use the ICT tools in normal classroom because most of the common software is currently not permitted in local examinations.

ICT use also to look the technical bugs as another important consideration to steady the robustness of computer systems. In Chua (2006) study of students using video-conferencing to interact with other students in different area. Lapses in hardware or software can “cause the considerable frustration to students and impinge on their learning when they are unable to keep up with disrupted lessons” (p.94).

**6. ****CONCLUSION**

There are many facets of the use of ICT that have not been research yet in mathematics education. In the hope of the focus on the specific use of ICT tools in predefined context, with a fixed approach toward mathematics teaching and learning.

The ICT implementation should be able to realize a sufficiently in-depth understanding of the complexity of teachings in actual classroom. And the educational professionals demand to continue the initiate of new research and turn over the variations of current research as the impact of the different ICT tools and approaches on teaching and learning.

ICT implementation also needs the teachers’ initiative to determine the suitable matter for their students, so they can create the opportunities for active learning that enable the development of a wide variety of content knowledge, skills, processes, and attitudes that they bring with them into the real world.

Denny Haris

A mathematics lecturer in Unimed (State University of Medan)

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